By Mark Evan Bonds
Beethoven forged a looming shadow over the 19th century. For composers he was once a version either to emulate and to beat. "You do not know the way it feels," Brahms confided, "when one continually hears any such massive marching at the back of one." Exploring the reaction of 5 composers--Berlioz, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, and Mahler--to what each one essentially observed because the problem of Beethoven's symphonies, Evan Bonds richly complements our knowing of the evolution of the symphony and Beethoven's legacy.
Overt borrowings from Beethoven--for instance, the lyrical topic within the Finale of Brahms' First Symphony, so just like the "Ode to pleasure" subject in Beethoven's Ninth--have frequently been the topic of feedback. Bonds now indicates us how composers imitate or allude to a Beethoven subject or compositional technique accurately with the intention to shy away from it, making a new musical answer. Berlioz's Harold en Italie, Mendelssohn's Lobgesang, Schumann's Fourth Symphony, Brahms' First, and Mahler's Fourth function illuminating examples. dialogue makes a speciality of such middle concerns as Beethoven's options in formal layout, the function of textual content and voice, fusion of various genres, cyclical coherence of events, and the functionality of the symphonic finale.
Bonds lucidly argues that the good symphonists of the 19th century cleared artistic house for themselves by means of either confronting and deviating from the practices in their in all probability overpowering precursor. His research areas normal masterpieces in a brand new gentle.
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18), and this rejecdon, in turn, is soon interrupted by a quotadon of the main theme from the second movement, the Marche de pHerins (m. 4). The brigands' music overwhelms this idea, too (m. 41), only to give way to the mountaineer's serenade from the third movement (m. 5). By now, we flilly expect that this theme will also be rejected, which it is, quite abrupdy, in m. 54. Up until m. 54, the sequence of reminiscences and rejecdons is precisely the same as that found in Beethoven's Ninth: Berlioz recalls each of his symphony's three eariier movements in the order of their original appearance.
Each of these approaches is illuminating, and each will be considered in some detail later in diis chapter. For the moment, it is important to recognize that all three originated with the composer himself. Berlioz, the consummate composer-critic, both created the work and helped shape its critical Interpretation. Yet an artist's account of his own work, valuable as it may be, can also conceal. None of these authorial interpretations adequately explains the overt allusion to Beethoven's Ninth at the beginning of Harold's finale.
48. Rochlitz, "Nekrolog," AmZ 29 (28 March 1827): 227-228; Chorley, Modern German Music, II, 307-308. T H E CRISIS OF T H E S Y M P H O N Y AFTER B E E T H O V E N 27 The demand for novelty was all the more challenging in die genre of die symphony, which by now had become a touchstone of compositional prowess. Any composer attaching die term "symphony" to a composidon, after all, was openly invidng his audience to judge diat work against the imposing aesthedc of the genre—which, for all practical purposes in the nineteenth Century, meant the tradition of the symphony as set forth by Beethoven.
After Beethoven: The Imperative of Originality in the Symphony by Mark Evan Bonds